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Road safety: UK scores well in improving safety for children, the elderly and cyclists
UK roads are amongst the safest in the EU. In the twelve month period up to the end of September, 2015, both road fatalities and casualties of all severities on UK roads have fallen by 3%.The raw statistics mean that there have been 800 less road deaths, and over 5500 less casualties than over the previous twelve month period.
As road safety and infrastructure has steadily improved – for example by introducing more bicycle lanes - there has been marked reductions in fatalities amongst more vulnerable road users. Over the same ten year period, UK cyclist fatalities have decreased by a third and those amongst pedestrians by two fifths.
Despite these encouraging figures, around 26,000 people were killed on UK roads last year (Sep. 2014-Sep. 2015) while about 188,800 have been seriously injured. For every person killed in the EU killed in a crash, there are an estimated:
- 4 life-long disabled;
- 10 seriously injured and
- 40 slightly injured.
EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc has today said "Every death or serious injury is one too many … I invite Member States to step up efforts in terms of enforcement and campaigning. This may have a cost, but it is nothing compared to the €100 billion social cost of road fatalities and injuries. For its part, the Commission will continue to act where it can bring a clear European added-value.
Technology and innovation are increasingly shaping the future of road safety. In the medium to long term, connected and automated driving, for instance, has great potential in helping to avoid crashes, and we are working hard to put the right framework in place."
What is the EU doing for safer roads?
- Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems: The Commission is developing a master plan on the deployment of cooperative ITS – a two-way communication between vehicles and infrastructure - in the second half of 2016. Such systems allow vehicles to warn each other directly (e.g. in case of emergency breaking) or through the infrastructure (e.g. upcoming road works).
- eCall automatically dials Europe's single emergency number 112 in the event of a serious road accident and communicates the vehicle's location to the emergency services, cutting emergency services response time by up to 50% in the countryside and 40% in urban areas. It is estimated that eCall can reduce fatalities by at least 4%.
- Infrastructure Safety Directive: A review of the directive is under way to investigate possible wider benefits, including additional protection for vulnerable road users, technical requirements to facilitate the deployment of ITS solutions and minimum safety standards.
- Cross-Border Enforcement Directive: Since 6 May 2015, new measures are tackling driving offences committed abroad, and new legislation on roadworthiness testing, adopted in April 2014, is helping to decrease the number of traffic accidents caused by technical failures.
- Framework for improved road safety: So far, this includes minimum requirements for the safety management of the Trans-European Transport Networks and technical requirements for safe transport of dangerous goods
- European Road Safety Charter: The Commission has created and runs the Charter with more than 2800 members and aims to mobilise voluntary commitments to road safety actions.
Driving in the EU?
This interactive map will act as a general guide to the local road safety laws.